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Customer Experience and Design

The Advantages of Moving Your Call Center to the Cloud

Q: What do you mean by implementing a customer service and support center in the cloud?

Simply said, it’s a significant improvement in customer service through new age manner and ways.

The world is changing and customers are demanding better service than ever before. In the past, when they had problems with a new car, they had to go to the dealership and talk with a car salesperson. If something broke, and they needed to do a return, in most cases, they had to talk to a human being.

In the new age, they don’t have to talk to a human being. Their interactions may not necessarily be face to face with a customer service representative. Instead they can interact electronically — via the web, phone, voice, etc. — and that’s what it means to deploy customer service in the cloud.

Q: What are the advantages of this type of solution?

Understanding how other people feel. For example, in the past, when customers were unhappy with a product they purchased, they didn’t know how many other people had also complained. Or if they bought a new washing machine and it wasn’t working right, they never knew how many other people were having the same problem.

The advantage to what we’re doing in the new media age as it relates to support is that customers can now have interactions online and see that other people are having the same issues. And that’s a game changer.

This is an advantage and disadvantage at the same time. Companies that accept that things are changing have an advantage by, for example, using the Salesforce Service Cloud to deliver modern customer service in the cloud. They can listen to the conversations people are having in the marketplace, on social media, and be proactive — prior to even getting an inbound phone call from a customer.

Customers now have much more control of the perception of your product or services. For example, a large internet/phone/cable services provider deployed the Service Cloud and started seeing that customers had been complaining on social media about their service and the company’s inability to solve their problems. Fortunately, they were able to turn this situation around by using the information to dramatically improve their customer service.

So, the advantage of the Service Cloud is the ability to be proactive and deliver social customer service before you get hit in the face with customer issues.

Also, as your customer service and support groups are being more proactive and you are gathering intelligence from your customers around why there are issues and what the problems are, you can populate knowledge, a key feature of the Service Cloud that enables much more efficient storage and access of information on your products and services.

This allows your community of customers to self-diagnose their issues more often. They might not even need to contact your customer support representatives directly to identify single problems because they are able to crowd-source what the issues are and solve the problems on their own. And that’s often because the customer service group populated knowledge with information from previous customers’ experience.

Another advantage of the Service Cloud is the infrastructure costs. It’s web based, so your customer service representative could be in his pajamas at home. There is no need to have brick and mortar call centers anymore. There is a tremendous cost savings advantage as well as flexibility.

The ability to service through multiple channels is another key advantage of the Service Cloud. Many Gen X and Gen Y customers don’t want to talk to human beings when they have a customer service issue. They find these interactions less valuable because they sometimes end up talking with someone who doesn’t know the answer or gives them the wrong answer, and really doesn’t solve their problem. They are much more inclined to solve their own problem more quickly by just reading the customer support answer right off the web.

Exactly. There’s not one solution that fits all customers. While some people prefer the phone, others with high tech devices may prefer mobile, web, Facebook, Twitter, or others. In my opinion, customer support on the phone is typically slower. When I am able to look at the information myself online, I’m not governed by someone else’s response time. It’s how fast I am able to search and find the answer that is the only governance. So whether your customers are Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers – or whatever the case might be – within the new digital age of media that we live in, the Service Cloud gives you an advantage by enabling you to serve them through the channel they are most comfortable with.

We should also mention the level of accountability that is now possible. There’s a formal record, there’s backup copy of the record, there’s a case number associated with it, and there’s a person’s name with the record. End users can say something publicly and if the company doesn’t give them the kind of service or support that they want, they can be very negative or loud about the poor response that they received. With the new media, people have a voice they never had before. You see things go viral very quickly, so it’s important to be able to monitor and capture this information.

For example, via the web, there was this really simple, innocuous comment from somebody on how their appliance had broken on them twice. The service guy showed up and said everything was okay, but it really wasn’t. He put a new part in – it did the same thing. The customer called the company and they told him it wasn’t an issue…

All of a sudden, several people with the same appliance issue responded. There were three people who knew three people, who each knew three or four people who had the same problem. Suddenly there were several hundred people who owned this appliance, who were lambasting the company so that everyone knew it was bad.

Well that is power that no one ever had before. The manufacturer’s Product Management team picked up this feedback from Facebook and Twitter and different blogs, forums, and discussions and determined that they needed to reengineer the part. Then they proactively went out with a service notice to everyone who had bought the appliance asking them to call the service number so they could dispatch someone to fix it. That’s how customer service works today.

Q: What are some of the most popular features and applications of the Service Cloud?

I would say knowledge, which, as Ryan mentioned, provides the ability to capture information from a variety of sources much more efficiently. As a customer service representative, I have the ability to search an unlimited range of this knowledge to provide an answer to my end user customer. That is a win-win for both customer service representatives and their customers.

Another popular feature is Live Agent Web Chat, the ability to connect in real time, online. Having templates and pre-determined responses that customer service representatives can send to their customers through email tends to be very popular.

To add to that, with the phone, you are only able to answer one customer at a time, while with Live Agent, you could be on multiple chats and have keyed auto responses right there and ready so you can support more people at once. This is popular with customers as well. I know I enjoy using web chat with customer service because I am familiar with this media and I “IM” all the time. I like this format since I don’t have to deal with an automated attendant or press a million buttons to get to who I want to speak with. The chat ability is right there and I can get an answer quickly.

Most people love the chat feature because this is a real-time interaction but there are no personality differences that have to be dealt with and no communications differences. It is a very ubiquitous way to communicate and it seems to be very popular across all generations.


Sharon Suchoval

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